“Delayed succession” remains a question

Leaving aside the gushing regurgitation of of every kingly myth of the past reign currently filling the media, the succession remains highly problematic.

Officially, Thailand has a new “reign” – as legal flunkey Wissanu Krea-ngam stated – but no king. This strange situation means that succession may be considered “delayed,” as is the official version, or it may be in dispute. With no clarity, each event related to the palace may be thought of as signals. But signals of what?

The Bangkok Post reports that Princess Sirindhorn has a new role related to her late father’s funeral. Is this an act of filial piety decided within the royal family? Or is it, as successionists suggest, emblematic of a bitter dispute between Prince Vajiralongkorn and the old schemer General Prem Tinsulanonda, the regent?

Wissanu has again been rolled out to speak on this, suggesting that the law may be at issue. He says that “Vajiralongkorn has given his assent for … Sirindhorn to make the final decisions in the construction of a Phra Meru for the royal cremation…”. Those interested in royal symbolism may see something significant being signaled in this. Or is it just a division of royal duties between siblings who want to display appropriate piety? Yet the words of the prince that Wissanu says he is conveying seem bland.

The military junta appears to still be playing catch-up on succession, suggestive to some that there is a more interesting story being played out in the shadows of the Grand Palace and several other palaces.

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